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2 Chinese Charged with Laundering $100 Million for North Korean Hackers

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

North Korea Hacking Cryptocurrency

Two Chinese nationals have been charged by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and sanctioned by the US Treasury for allegedly laundering $100 million worth of virtual currency using prepaid Apple iTunes gift cards.

According to a newly unsealed court document, the illicit funds originated from a $250 million haul stolen from two different unnamed cryptocurrency exchanges that were perpetrated by Lazarus Group, a cybercrime group with ties with the North Korean government.

The two individuals in question — Tian Yinyin (田寅寅, and Li Jiadong (李家东) — were both charged with operating an unlicensed money transmitting business and money laundering conspiracy.

Prosecutors said the defendants worked on behalf of the threat actors based in North Korea to allegedly launder over a $100 million worth of stolen cryptocurrency to obscure transactions, adding the hacking of cryptocurrency exchanges posed a severe threat to the security of the global financial system.

It’s worth noting that Lazarus Group was one among the three hacking outfits to be sanctioned by the US government last September for conducting a variety of financially-motivated operations ranging from cyber-espionage to data theft, so as to fund the country’s illicit weapon and missile programs.

Per the US Treasury, the Lazarus Group stole the funds in 2018 after an employee of a cryptocurrency exchange unwittingly downloaded malware through an email, which gave the threat actor access to private keys, virtual currency, and other customer information.

“Lazarus Group cyber actors used the private keys to steal virtual currencies (250 million dollar equivalent at date of theft) from this exchange, accounting for nearly half of the DPRK’s estimated virtual currency heists that year.” the Treasury said.

While the name of the exchange remains unknown, a report by Kaspersky back in August 2018 detailed a campaign that involved dropping malware in the corporate networks of a number of crypto-exchanges by sending spear-phishing emails.

Stating that North Korea trains hackers to “target and launder stolen funds from financial institutions,” the Treasury added that both Tian and Li received $91 million from North Korea-controlled accounts that can be traced by the 2018 cryptocurrency exchange hack and an additional $9.5 million from a hack of a second exchange.

Prosecutors said the two individuals helped convert more than $34 million of the illicit funds they received back into Chinese yuan by moving them to a bank account linked to the exchange account, in addition to converting $1.4 million worth of cryptocurrency into Apple gift cards.

Created in 2007, the Lazarus Group has gone after a number of targets, including militaries, governments, financial institutions, media companies, and utility sectors, to perpetrate monetary heists and destructive malware attacks, making it the most-profitable cryptocurrency-hacker syndicate in the world.

A United Nations report last August estimated North Korea to have generated an estimated $2 billion for its weapons programs through “widespread and increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks” targeting banks and cryptocurrency exchanges.

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#deepweb | 18-year-old Eau Claire man charged with possession of child pornography

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)— An 18-year-old has been charged in Eau Claire County court Wednesday for charges of possession of child pornography.

Court records show 18-year-old Zachariah Sherman has been charged with two counts of possession of child pornography.

The criminal complaint says Snapchat reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that a user had been reported for possession, manufacture and distribution of child pornography that occurred on Dec. 7.

Eau Claire Sheriff’s Office says deputies were aware of the Sherman residence because of a 2018 search warrant for internet crimes against children investigation.

Officials met with Sherman who told deputies how he would use a TOR browser to access the dark web and search for child pornography. He also admitted to law enforcement that he had been sending images of child pornography to others. When asked if it was illegal to possess child pornography, Sherman stated it was.

Sherman also told detectives that he had recently been released from a treatment program and when asked if he was still having urges to view child pornography, he said “I think that my whole life I think I’m going to have temptations but I’m trying to use my resources not to go down that road again”.

When asked to guess the age of those in the photos, Sherman said “probably under 14”, according to the criminal complaint.

Sherman’s signature bond has been set at $5,000 and he is not to use the internet unless his parents are with him. He is scheduled to appear in court next on April 9.

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#infosec | Chinese Military Personnel Charged with Equifax Hack

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans The US has indicted Chinese military personnel today on charges of hacking into Equifax’s computer systems and stealing valuable trade secrets and the personal data of nearly 150 million Americans. A federal grand jury in Atlanta, Georgia, returned the indictment last week against four members of the Chinese […] View full post on

#deepweb | Alleged Member of Neo-Nazi Swatting Group Charged — Krebs on Security

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans Federal investigators on Friday arrested a Virginia man accused of being part of a neo-Nazi group that targeted hundreds of people in “swatting” attacks, wherein fake bomb threats, hostage situations and other violent scenarios were phoned in to police as part of a scheme to trick […] View full post on

#infosec | US Man Charged with ISIS Coding Plot

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

A Chicago man has been arrested and charged with attempting to provide technology to ISIS to support the terror group’s propaganda efforts.

Thomas Osadzinski, 20, was arrested on Monday and charged with one count of attempting to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization.

The complaint alleged that he designed a process that helps computer users more easily access and share ISIS propaganda on social media.

Osadzinski was caught in a classic sting operation earlier this year, sharing the computer script he allegedly wrote and instructions on how to use it with FBI agents posing as ISIS supporters and members of pro-ISIS media organizations.

The terror group uses social media content to help spread its message, recruit members and inspire others to violence against the US and other Western nations. In one case in 2015, a pro-ISIS Facebook-clone and linked Twitter account were taken offline after briefly hitting the headlines.

Legitimate social media companies are inundated with illegal content from groups like these, which they work quickly to remove. However, Osadzinski’s alleged Python script is said to have automatically copied any ISIS propaganda posts, allowing members and sympathizers to continue to access and share the content.

According to the court documents, he also promised to build a version of the Gentoo Linux operating system customized to make it harder for law enforcers or “crusader intelligence agencies” to crack.

If found guilty, Osadzinski is facing a maximum of 20 years behind bars.

Sometimes social media monitoring of terrorist content can actually help intelligence agencies. In 2015, the US military claimed that it managed to locate and then neutralize an ISIS command-and-control facility after spotting photos shared by fighters online.


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#cybersecurity | hacker | Former Twitter employees charged with using access to spy for Saudi Arabia

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

A pair of former
Twitter employees – one an engineer and the other a media partnership manager –
were busted for accessing users’ account and personal data on behalf of Saudi
Arabia to ferret out opponents of the kingdom.

Engineer Ali Alzabarah and manager Ahmad Abouammo were charged with operating within the U.S. as agents of a foreign power, the Justice Department said Wednesday. In charges filed in a San Francisco court, the FBI noted the two defied Twitter policies and used their “access to proprietary and confidential Twitter information,” including the email addresses, phone numbers, birthdates and IP addresses of Twitter users, on behalf of the Saudi government. Abouammo is linked to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS), who U.S. intelligence officials say ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“The criminal complaint unsealed today alleges
that Saudi agents mined Twitter’s internal systems for personal information
about known Saudi critics and thousands of other Twitter users,” U.S. Attorney
David L. Anderson said in a statement. “U.S. law protects U.S. companies from
such an unlawful foreign intrusion. We will not allow U.S. companies or U.S.
technology to become tools of foreign repression in violation of U.S. law.”

The Justice
Department charges lay out a scheme in which Abouammo spied on three Twitter
accounts while Alzabarah accessed 6,000 accounts to suss out Saudi dissidents
and activists in the U.S. who opposed Saudi Arabia’s policies in exchange for
monetary compensation.

A third man,
Ahmed Almutairi, who worked for a social media firm associated with the Saudi
government, served as an intermediary and is being sought by authorities. Alzabarah
and Almutairi are both Saudi citizens while Abouammo is a citizen of the U.S.

recognize the lengths bad actors will go to try and undermine our service,”
Twitter said in a statement. “Our company limits access to sensitive account
information to a limited group of trained and vetted employees.”

The charges
were first reported
by the Washington Post.

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Two #Women #Charged With #Hacking Bucks #Computer #Systems

A Bucks student and her cohort were arrested and charged with hacking the college’s computer system to alter her grades and the grades of other students in a microbiology course.
The two women arrested were Aleisha Morosco, a 30-year-old part-time student, and Kelly Margaret Marryott, a 37-year-old employed at a medical office.

Bucks officials have suspected since July that someone had been meddling with students’ grades, and once it was reported to the police, the suspicion was confirmed.

Police said Marryott used the personal information of a Bucks faculty member she gained from her employment at a medical office. From there Morosco allegedly hacked the school’s computer network to change her own grade and the grades of other students.

Stephanie H. Shanblatt, president of Bucks County Community College, released the following statement about the incident:
“Dear Colleagues: Last week, the Newtown Township Police arrested two women in connection with an attempt to change grades at the college last summer. I wanted to assure you that this was an isolated incident. When the college discovered the problem, we reported it to Newtown Township Police and worked cooperatively with law enforcement to resolve the case. Bucks takes the integrity of our data systems very seriously. All of the grades altered in the breach were restored to their correct level. I would like to thank the Newtown Township Police Department for their professionalism in bringing this investigation to its appropriate conclusion. In addition, our gratitude goes out to the Office of Security and Safety, Information Technology, and Online Learning for their prompt attention to this matter.”

Both women have been charged with unlawful use of computer, computer crimes, computer trespass, identity theft, and criminal conspiracy.

Computer trespassing is a very serious crime. PhiladelphiaCriminal- states that “If you are indicted on federal computer crime charges, you can face being sent to a federal prison for years.” The two women were arraigned before District Judge Mick Petrucci and released on $40,000 unsecured bail.

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Iranian #national #charged with #hacking #HBO

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

The Department of Justice on Tuesday charged an Iranian national with hacking the computer servers of HBO and seeking to extort the company after stealing episodes and scripts of popular shows, including “Game of Thrones.”

Behzad Mesri, aka “Skote Vashat,” was charged with fraud, aggravated identity theft and interstate transmission of an extortionate communication, among other charges, according to a new unsealed indictment.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York, Mesri is not in custody. The FBI released a “wanted” poster of Mesri Tuesday afternoon, and said he speaks Farsi, currently resides in Iran and is a flight risk.

The prosecutors’ office also said they were not aware of any U.S. lawyer for the defendant.

Assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York field office Bill Sweeney said at a news briefing that Mesri “lurked in the alleyways of the Internet, identified the vulnerabilities of his victim, pickpocketed their information from thousands of miles away and sought a ransom. Today’s charges show that international cybercriminals are never beyond the reach of U.S. laws.”

Mesri, who was a “self-professed expert in computer hacking techniques,” according to the indictment, at one point worked on behalf of the Iranian military to “conduct computer network attacks that targeted military systems, nuclear software systems and Israeli infrastructure.”

The indictment also reveals Mesri defaced hundreds of websites in both the U.S. and globally under his pseudonym Skote Vashat.

Between May and August, Mesri began his hacking and extortion scheme of HBO, working to obtain “unauthorized access to HBO’s computer systems” and “steal proprietary data from those systems.”

Mesri then attempted to extort HBO for $6 million worth of Bitcoin, a form of digital currency.

The confidential and proprietary data belonging to HBO he stole included video files of unaired episodes of “Ballers,” “Barry,” “Room 104,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and “The Deuce,” scripts and plots for “Game of Thrones,” cast and crew contact lists, financial documents, emails belonging to at least one HBO employee, and log in information for HBO social media accounts.

The extortion scheme began in July, the indictment alleges.

“Hi to All losers! Yes it’s true! HBO is hacked! … Beware of heart Attack!!!” an anonymous email sent to HBO personnel on July 23 included in the complaint reads. The email claimed 1.5 terabytes of data was stolen.

The indictment alleges starting around July 30 and continuing to at least August, the defendant leaked portions of the stolen data to the Internet on websites he controlled.

HBO, which is owned by Time Warner, struggled over the summer with numerous high-profile hackings. A group called OurMine hijacked HBO’s main Twitter account, as well as other HBO shows’ accounts.

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Edison man charged in hacking, wiretapping scheme

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

EDISON – A township man was arrested Thursday for alleged computer hacking and wiretapping of his former company’s email server, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick said in a statement. Jian Yang Zhang, also known as Kevin Zhang,” 37, is charged with one count of unauthorized access of a protected…

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17-year-old charged with voyeurism as police investigate social media hacking case

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Vancouver police arrested a 17-year-old boy on voyeurism charges while investigating a case where someone hacked into a girl’s social media account and shared nude photos of her. The Vancouver Police School Resource Officer assigned to Union High School first began investigating the incident on Monday, September 18. A girl…

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